the vagaries of west coast weather

Sundown, Gowlland Point, Pender Island
(4 images)

One afternoon a couple of days ago I decided, despite the overcast skies and uninspiring light, to drive down to one of my favourite photography locations on South Pender Island. If nothing else the pup and I would get in a good walk before dinner, and you never know what the tide might have washed in.

So we arrived, hiked the length the first beach and over the bluff, then made our way down to the second beach. That’s when I felt the first drops. I’d checked the forecast earlier, and there’d been no rain predicted, but Mother Nature laughs in the face of weather forecasts. Especially in winter on B.C.’s west coast.

In the rapidly deteriorating conditions I wasn’t seeing anything especially enticing to photograph, and the front of my lens was getting covered in raindrops, so with a sigh I packed my camera away in my bag. I pulled on my coat hood and the pup and I started back the way we’d come, with me muttering darkly to myself about the gas I’d wasted driving here and my most excellent timing regarding the weather. I glanced down at the pup, snug in her jacket and happy to be out. At least we were getting some exercise and fresh, if excessively damp, air.

We got back to the first beach and wonder of wonders, it stopped raining. Under a brightening sky I took a couple of pictures of the ocean shining in the blue light.

Silver seas, Pender Island
Silver seas, Pender Island

Then unexpectedly the sun broke through the clouds, gilding the cliff-tops and turning the dark eastern sky to violet and blue. I knew I had only a few minutes at best, so I ran around like a madwoman to find a decent composition. A few (too few!) shots later, the sun sank behind the hill. The golden moment was over.

sundown Gowlland Point Pender Island B.C.

It wasn’t until I’d packed up and turned to leave that I noticed another photographer down the beach a ways. He waved, and I said, “Nice bit of light just then.” “Yeah, didn’t think we were going to get any,” he said. We never really know what we’ll get, do we, despite all our careful plans and predictions. All we can do is show up and hope for the best.

26 thoughts on “the vagaries of west coast weather

  1. Noortje Russel

    I recognise this so well… but it is half the fun, don’t you think? Imagine always knowing what it is going to be like and always succeeding… Now it’s much more exciting and so much more rewarding when happily surprised with such an unexpected gift of light…
    Beautiful photo’s of your wonderful island coast!


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